Dietary Practices and Nutritional Status of Elderly having Varied Dental Status
Advancing age brings with it lots of physiological changes in the body and loss of teeth is one of them. Lack of appropriate dental health may pose difficulties which may make the elderly vulnerable to dietary restrictions with possible consequences on their nutritional status. The present study was undertaken to assess and compare the dietary practices and nutritional status of elderly having varied dental status. A total of 90 free living elderly men and women (60 - 80 years) belonging to middle income group; 30 using no dentures, 30 with fixed dentures/ implants and 30 using removable dentures constituted the study sample. Data were gathered from the subjects using a questionnaire-cum-interview schedule and one day 24 hour diet recall method. Anthropometric measurements were also taken. The findings revealed that elderly using removable or fixed dentures/ implants had better self-perception about their dental status, experienced less discomfort while eating and had lower adverse effect on their chewing ability as compared to non-denture wearers. Elderly with fixed dental implants also had slightly better intakes of more nutrients, however, no distinct pattern was observed between the elderly from different groups. Elderly, not using any dentures in spite of having less number of natural teeth experienced reduced pleasure in eating different types of foods and were at the maximum risk of a compromised nutritional status among the three study groups. It could be concluded that getting their lost teeth replaced either as fixed implants or using removable dentures may help elderly enjoy a variety of foods and meet their nutritional requirements optimally.
Dental Status, Dentures, Edentulism, Oral Health, Nutritional Status.
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